Friday, 30 August 2013

NOTD: Models Own Luis Lemon

I'm back with another bright neon colour! And boy, let me tell you, this one's probably as bright as you can get. I received loads of comments about my nails when wearing this one, mainly along the lines of "Wow, your nails are bright", so it's not one for those who like to blend into the background.

Luis Lemon went on streak free and dried to a jelly like finish. Two coats is probably enough, though you can see a little bit of the white on my nail tips on the pictures. I applied the same polish another time on top of a white base and it solved the problem and also made the colour even brighter.

It's a great one for clubbing as well, as the colour will literally glow in the blacklight. I absolutely adore this colour and I can't wait to go out and buy a neon green and neon pink to match my collection!

Models Own polishes retail at £5 each.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Review: Organic Surge Gentle Cleansing Lotion

I was introduced to Organic Surge through my first ever Beauteco Box and it was only then that I began to notice how many bloggers are firmly in love with this brand. Unfortunately I finished my bottle today and it was only then that I realised that I'd completely forgotten to take some proper pictures of it, whoops! So, errr, sorry about that, but this is how it arrived at my door step two months ago.

The lotion comes in a plastic bottle and even though it's one of those squeezy ones that I usually send flying across the whole bathroom, I managed to get pretty much every single drop out of the packaging due to the runny texture of its contents.

You use this morning and evening, massage it into the skin and then take everything off with a tissue, flannel or muslin cloth. I opted for tissues, just because I'm lazy and I can't be bothered to wash a cloth every other day. It's not meant for eyes, but I've had no stinging or irritation on the odd occasion where I did get some lotion on my eyes.

You can definitely smell the rosemary that's listed as part of the ingredients, but overall the scent is mild and gentle and not really anything to shout about.

As much as I love cleansing lotions for that soft, comforting feeling they leave on the skin, I also find that they're often a tad too gentle and won't remove all of my make-up effectively. That's not the case with this one. Yeah, my tissue was covered in... errr, stuff... after wiping my face clean, but a cotton pad soaked in toner and swiped over my face afterwards always came out clean.

On those days where I remembered to use it both mornings and nights, my skin couldn't have looked any better. I am just amazed at how something so gentle can also be so effective. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with this lotion, that I ordered the matching toner almost straight away - watch out for a review of that one!

I can fully understand now why so many beauty bloggers love Organic Surge. Particularly for anyone with sensitive skin I imagine this to be a god send! Not to mention their prices are more than reasonable and the 200ml bottle lasted me almost three months. Win/win!

The Gentle Cleansing Lotion retails at £5.99 for 200ml.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Review: MUA Fur-Effect Nails in Fluffy Puff

Boy, did I get excited when I saw these little pots of nail fluff in Superdrug. With names such as "Fluff & Cuddles", "Boo Boo Fluff" and "Fluffy Puff"I instantly turned into a giggly 6-year old bursting with fluffy excitement. Then I got home, put it in a drawer and forgot all about it for months (-seems like it gave me the attention span of a 6-year old as well).

Eventually I found myself remembering about this little pot of fluff on a rainy evening and set to fluff up my finger tips. The idea behind these is that you tap out the fluff through the in-built sieve, coat a nail in polish, then dip it in the fluff. You let it dry a little bit and then brush off any excess.

I decided to just lift out the sifter completely and dip my nails directly into the fluff, then tap off any excess. I used a Leighton Denny polish in "Babydoll" as a base, as that was the colour closest to the baby pink of the nail fluff.

Now, it's fair to say the result wasn't quite what I expected. After the initial excitement of "THEY SO FLUFFEH!!" I was left with a patchy mess that went sort of grey-ish every time I got near water, thought it didn't got quite as rank as I'd feared. I also found myself constantly stroking my finger nails, which probably added to the subsequent chipping.
To be fair it was probably just my messy application - I'm not exactly a nail art genius - and with a bit of practice I could probably get these to look a lot better, but somehow I'm not that bothered about trying this nail effect again.

If, however, you want to give it a go yourself, the fur-effect nails retail at a bargain £3 per pot.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review: Soap and Glory Clean On Me

I pretty much never ever splurge on a shower gel - give me a supermarket's own brand or something from the pound shop any day and I'm happy, as long as it gets me clean. So, the only reason I got my hands on this massive Soap and Glory shower gel is because it came in a Christmas gift set. Yes, that's right, Christmas. That's how long it took me to finally use up this bad boy.

As with all Soap and Glory products the name is a bit tongue-in-cheek and oh my, did it get me singing under the shower, "Clean on meeeee, when you're not strooooong....". I actually got told off by my boyfriend for singing about my beauty products all the time, whoops! Now, the packaging of this really, really bothered me. You get a pretty enormous amount of product (500ml!!!) which means the bottle is pretty heavy to begin with. I think S&G assumed that we all have neat little ceramic shelves in our shower, where we can rest our goodies and just pump up as much shower gel as we need. Well, I don't. I have a wobbly metal stand that hangs off the shower pipe, with each and every product carefully arranged so as to not disturb the perfect balance and make everything tipple over. Now, try holding this massive pint of shower gel in one hand, a shower puff in the other (while everything is wet and slippy) and use the same hand to press the pump at the top. Yeah. No. Doesn't work.

That aside, it lathers up nicely and I can confirm that it got me, well, clean. The scent is typical girly S&G, but it's nowhere near as strong as I expected and doesn't leave a single trace on the skin once you've dried yourself. As for the claim about the in-built body lotion, forget it. In my experience these things never work and Clean On Me is no exception. My skin was no drier nor any more moisturised than after using conventional (cheap-ass) shower gel.

As I said at the beginning of the post, I never would have picked this up in Boots if I was just shopping for a shower gel and it really is no better or worse than the shower gels I usually go for. Come to think of it, however, £6 is pretty awesome value for money, considering it must have lasted me about 6 months (and I do shower every day if that's what you're thinking). Stupid squirty pump aside, I'd say that for any hardcore Soap and Glory fans this will be a great addition to their bathroom, but for anyone else it's more of a take-it-or-leave-it product.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

NOTD: Models Own Pink Punch

It feels like summer is slowly coming to a close. We're having a few hot days down here in London, but the sun is setting earlier each day and pubs and restaurants are already taking Christmas bookings. Well, there's nothing to make summer feel like it lasts a little longer than a pop of neon!

Pink Punch is a neon coral shade, which looks gorgeous against a tan. It's so bright it literally glows in the sunlight. I can't help but smile every time I catch a glimpse of my nails when I wear this colour!

Like all other Models Own polishes I've tried, this one's opaque after two coats, applies without streaking and dries to a rich, glossy finish.

It retails at £5.00 a bottle.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review: L'Oreal Superliner Brow Artist

The Brow Artist is the latest add on to L'Oreal's Superliner family. A double-ended pen with an eyebrow pencil on one end, a setting wax on the other and a little brush integrated in one of the lids, it aims to be your all-in-one brow kit in just one slim, easy to transport pencil.

The shade I was sent is the one for brunettes, which goes well with my natural brow colour, but produces a fairly stark contrast to my bleached hair (though that's not necessarily a bad thing, even if I'm never going to pull it off quite the way Cara D does).
My first thought was that this pencil is a genius idea. During the last year and a half my eyebrow products have shot up from, well, nothing at all, to an array of pencils, powders and setting waxes/gels. My face just doesn't seem right anymore if I don't fill in and groom my brows, but taking all that lot with me on holiday? No, thanks.

In practice it didn't work quite as well as expected. The waxy end just doesn't give enough hold for my liking and it tends to rub off the colour I've filled in before that. It also wears off very, very quickly, which means I need to sharpen it every other day.
The pencil end, however, works like an absolute dream. It's incredibly pigmented, which means that you only need a gentle swipe to leave a mark. That makes it very easy to get a natural result from lots of light, feathery strokes.

I swatched both ends in the picture above, but you can't really see the wax at all. It's not glossy or shimmery in any way and a little bit creamy. The pencil end I barely touched my skin with and you can see that the colour pay off is pretty awesome.

My overall verdict on this one would be: Pencil end yay, waxy end nay. I suppose I'd be happy to use the wax in a pinch, or if you're just after a really natural grooming wax you may get on with it better than I did. For the pencil end alone, however, I'm happy to add this one to my ever growing brow collection.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Review

I can't believe it's taken me this long to review this little pot of delicious scrubbiness - please excuse the lack of blogging mojo lately! I've actually featured this in one of my favourites posts and also talked about it a little bit independently, but it's definitely deserved its own full-length review!

The first thing you'll notice when you twist the lid of a pot of Sugar Crush is the smell. Soap & Glory are pretty amazing when it comes to scenting their products, but this is just out of this world. Thanks to the sugar and lime it smells like a delicious mojito and even after getting out of the shower the scent will linger on your skin for quite some time.

There's a lovely variety of smaller and larger grains suspended in what I can only describe as an oily jelly - sounds terrible, but on the skin it feels lush! If like me you're a fan of scrubs that you can just feel sloughing away the dead skin as soon as they touch your body, then you'll love this! It leaves a bit of an oily film on the skin, which I personally love, but I realise that might not be for everybody.
The sugar grains dissolve after a bit of rubbing into the skin, making for one very satisfying scrubbing experience!

As far as packaging is concerned, the big tub offers a very generous amount of content, but unfortunately it's anything but travel-friendly and will leak even if you knock it over on your bathroom shelf.

Sugar Crush retails at £8 for 300ml.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Beauteco Box August 13

This month's Beauteco Box offered a little less choice than the previous boxes. The three full sized products were exactly the same in each of the three boxes, while the two sample sizes offered a little more choice depending on skin type or preference. What I loved about this month's box was the bright yellow and blue colour scheme within the packaging - so bright and summery! Anyway, I opted for choice number 3 from the Beauteco boutique.

1) Arran Aromatics | Lavender and Tea Tree Facial Wash
Full size: £12.95 for 100ml

I'd never ever heard of this brand before, but the timing on this one was pretty good, as my beloved Organic Surge cleanser (which I also got in a Beauteco Box) is slowly coming to an end. I'm a bit on the fence about this cleanser containing loofah, as it might be a little bit harsh for a daily cleanser, but we shall see and find out. Now, the smell of this is something else. I'm already not a fan of the scent of tea tree oil, but combined with lavender it seriously packs a punch. Oddly enough, while I don't find it particularly pleasant, it doesn't put me off trying this either. It smells like it means business and I'm quite excited to find out if it can live up to my expectations.

2) Lord and Berry | Intensity Lipstick in Peach Gleam
Full size: £12 for 3.5g

I've heard of Lord and Berry before and seen a few of their products dotted around random blogs, but never really felt the urge to try any of their stuff. This lipstick goes on buttery soft and feels very comfortable, but it's the shade I've got a bit of an issue with. "Peach Gleam" isn't peach at all. I was expecting a light, milky orange, but what you get is a very heavily yellow based nude, which reminds me a lot of Benefit's Lady's Choice. It's not an ugly colour by all means, but it's nothing what it looks like on their website online.

3) Lord and Berry | Kissproof Lip Colour in Blossom
Full size: £7.50 for 1.2g

Another Lord and Berry product and this one is a lot more true to the shade you can see in their online catalogue. I'm really not a fan of lip liners, but this can also be used all over the lips for a long lasting colour, so I think I'll be using it that way instead. The term "kissproof" is not far fetched in this case, as I've been struggling all day to get the swatch off my hand - it really stays and stays and stays! Blossom is a dark, dusky lilac, which I imagine will look gorgeous on dark skin tones.

Left: Lord and Berry Intensity Lipstick in Peach Gleam | Right: Lord and Berry Kissproof Lip Colour in Blossom

4) S5 | Purity Serum
Full size: £44 for 30ml / Sample value: £14.67

I went for the Purity serum out of the choice of three targeted serums, as my skin's been really oily lately (possibly due to the heat). Well, shame on me for not reading properly, as this one's aimed at blemish-prone skin, which is not exactly the same thing. I'll give this a little try, but I do worry that it the salicylic acid it contains might be a little too harsh for my skin. Maybe I'll just save it for really bad skin days.

5) Melvita | Body Milk Rose
Full size: £16 for 200ml / Sample value: £2.40

I've really wanted to try something from Melvita ever since I've heard Jane at British Beauty Blogger rave about pretty much everything they produce. I find the smell of roses incredibly comforting, but I feel that the scent is soft and light enough even for people who aren't quite as enthusiastic about roses. Can't wait to get in the shower and give this one a little go!

Total value: £49.52

With three full sized products in each box, value for money is never really going to be an issue with this beauty box company and once again I feel like I've more than made my money's worth (which wasn't the case with Birchbox and the reason I cancelled my subscription). However, I feel that with the two full sized make-up products it would have been much nicer to have a choice of shades in the three boxes. As nice as it is to try out some new make-up, I don't think either of those colours will be particularly flattering for my skin tone. On the plus side, I've got four new brands which I've never tried before to play around with, which is pretty exciting! I'm still in love with Beauteco Box and my subscription stays until at least the next month.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

MUA Blusher Shade 1 Review

This little number is one of my very first purchases from MUA and the reason I keep coming back to this brand to try out lots of new things. In a nutshell, you cannot get better value for your money - I dare you to prove me wrong.

I will admit that the packaging is not particularly pretty. The plastic casing looks and feels very cheap, but for the price you could do a lot worse. It will protect the blusher from daily wear and tear if all you keep it in is your make-up case/bag, though I'm not sure it would survive being thrown around in a handbag or suitcase.

But, let's move on to the actual blusher. It's butter soft to the touch, blends easily as long as you use the right brush and has just the right amount of pigmentation to make application easy and straightforward. I honestly wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and my much more expensive MAC blushes.

What I will say is that due to the softness of the powder, mine broke off at the corners a little bit, so a light hand is required or you might damage your blush.
This particular shade is a very pretty bright pink which looks a lot more shimmery in the pan than it translates onto the skin. In reality it makes for a very girly, light flush on the cheeks which goes particularly well with cooler skin tones.

MUA Blusher Shade 1 swatch in natural light
MUA Blusher Shade 1 swatch with flash
I simply cannot believe that these retail at £1 each. I really want to just run out and buy the whole colour spectrum. Even if the packaging isn't great, the quality of the product more than makes up for it, even putting some high end alternatives to shame.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sample Summary #9

I've been struck with a bit of blogger's block lately, hence the absence of blog post or any activity from me really. As a result, we've got loads and loads of goodies to get through with a few months' worth of beauty box and magazine samples, so let's get started!

1) Gerda Spillmann Renaissance Age Serum
Full size: £69

I've still never bought a full sized serum and only ever had a play around with various samples. The nice thing about serums though, is that you only ever need a small amount for it to work its magic, so even my samples always last me a long time.
This one had a gorgeous citrus scent to it and I used it at night time only before applying moisturiser. The one thing I did notice was that it sunk straight away into my drier cheeks, but slipped around for ages on my oilier T-Zone, without ever fully absorbing into the skin. Likewise, my cheeks would feel softer and smoother in the morning, while there was no visible effect on the rest of my face (neither positive nor negative). As a result I feel that it would be more suited to dry skin, though the results on half of my face didn't impress me enough to wholeheartedly recommend this product.

2) Green and Spring Relaxing Conditioner
Full size: £16

I wish people would stop making things in squeezy bottles. They slip around everywhere and you can never get the last bit out of the bottom - so frustrating! This conditioner had a gorgeous scent - like fresh meadows on a spring day - which lasted on the hair for ages and bagged me several compliments on how nice my hair smelt!
Unfortunately my hair is very dry and it just wasn't rich enough for me, resulting in coarse, frizzy hair. For normal to oily hair types, however, this would be a lovely little luxury treat.

3) Weleda Skin Food
Full size: £8.95

With all the hype surrounding this cult product, my hopes for it were very high. Unfortunately, I wasn't really sure how to use it. I don't really get dry skin in summer, only in winter, when the cold air outside and central heating indoors turns me into a scaly lizard.
Eventually I settled on using it as a substitute for my 8 Hour Cream, so on heels, little cuts and grazes and as an intensive hand moisturiser over night. While it's not as greasy and smelly as 8 Hour Cream, it also didn't quite match it on the hydration front. I can see why it's earned its spot in the beauty world, but personally, I've found a product that works better for me and I'm going to stick with that for now.

4) Murad Hydrodynamic Moisture for Eyes
Full size: £57

I've always suffered from dark circles under my eyes and the odd bit of puffiness thrown into the mix, which made me a firm believer in the miracles of a good eye cream. However, I've been going through so many duds lately - even my old time favourite Clinique cream stopped working on me - that I started to consider scrapping eye cream for good and just saving my money for something else instead.
Then this little gem came along. To be honest, I didn't even pay attention to any changes until it was time to review the sample and that's when I realised that the condition of the skin under my eyes has really got a lot better. It's incredibly smooth and pleasant to apply and leaves skin instantly revitalised. My dark circles decreased up to a point where I found myself applying a lot less concealer in the mornings. It's only the huge price tag that puts me off purchasing the full size.

5) Wei Chinese Rose Foaming Cleanser
Full size: £25

Unfortunately, this sample has been a little too tiny to make a fair judgment on product performance. It's a clear gel that turns into a milky foam when massaged into wet skin and it cleaned my skin effectively without any stinging or tight sensations. The scent is undoubtedly rosy, but not so strong to put anyone off who's not overly into rose smells. It did its job reasonably well and got me a little intrigued by Wei, a brand I've never come across before.

6) Wei Pomegranate Buffing Beads
Full size: £16

I feel like I should have tried this one along with my Wei cleanser sample, but I'd already run out of that one before it was bi-weekly exfoliating time. I do quite like the idea behind these - little granules that you mix with your favourite cleanser to make it as gritty or as smooth as you like, without the need to buy a separate exfoliator. It's more of a novelty item than a beauty staple in my honest option, though.

7) Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara
Full size: £22

I'm already quite the fan of the original Hypnose mascara, but this one is set apart by the curved wand, which I originally feared would make application tricky, but thankfully didn't. I'm a bit gutted that I forgot to take pictures of it on my lashes because my oh my, this stuff is amazing. It made my lashes long, thick and very, very defined - I honestly didn't know I actually had so many eye lashes. It did a great job at curling my lashes, too, meaning I could give my eye lash curlers a bit of a break (though keep in mind that my lashes are naturally very curly already). At the moment I don't have enough money flying around to warrant spending this much on a mascara which I'll have to replace within two or three months, but I still think the quality completely warrants the price tag. 

8) Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream
Full size: £5.99

Shame I only got one application out of this foot cream, but the one time I used it I could instantly tell a difference on the dry skin on my feet - and that was after neglecting them for a while, so they were a bit of a tough case. The cream sank in instantly and immediately nourished and softened my skin, without leaving any slippy or greasy feeling. I'm quite impressed that a product with such a low price tag performed so well!

9) Nivea In-Shower Moisturiser
Full size: £3.56

Ever since I first heard about this I really wanted to give it a go. It's like a conditioner for your skin, which you smooth on while still in the shower and then rinse off and you're ready to go, without the need for body lotion! While it did soften my skin, it wasn't quite as hydrated as I would have liked.
I did however enjoy being able to just get out of the shower, dry off and be ready to go. On hot days in particular, I just hate creaming my skin after the shower when everything just gets sticky and horrible straight away. A good one maybe to pack for a holiday or to use in blistering heat - otherwise, it's just not quite rich enough for me.

10) Organic Surge Blissful Daily Moisturiser
Full size: £8.49

I was introduced to Organic Surge through my first Beauteco Box and I think I've fallen in love with the brand a little bit ever since. This came with an online order and I already can't wait for my moisturiser to run out so I can buy a full tub of this.
It sank into my skin immediately, smoothed out my drier cheeks and softly mattified my T-Zone, leaving me with silky peach skin throughout. Utterly, utterly gorgeous!

11) Durex Play Intimate Lube
Full size: £4.29

Haha, no I won't be giving any details on this one, but just thought I'd mention it. Fair play to Cosmo for giving out samples of this in their magazine!

12) BiOrganics Hair Perfecting Oil
Full size: £13

Oh, I'm really not a fan of this oil at all. The first problem is the way the sample is designed, with a very wide opening at the top which makes it difficult to dispense the perfect amount. As a result I ended up with too much oil a lot of the time and a greasy, slippy mess everywhere. On my hair it didn't really do anything to boost moisture or to smooth my strands. Even on my very dry hair it refused to sink into the hair shaft and just left my hair looking greasy. I've honestly never seen greasy frizz before I tried this product. Wouldn't buy it and wouldn't recommend it.

13) Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
Full size: £20

Considering how excited I was to try out this cream I feel a little let down by the results. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely eye cream that sinks into the skin nicely and applies very well - but that's about it. It did nothing for my dark circles and nothing for my puffiness. I may as well have been applying tomato sauce to my skin. But then, apart from the Murad cream I mentioned above, eye creams just really haven't been doing anything for me during the last couple of months.

14) Eve of St Agnes Body Balm
Full size: £6

I mistakenly thought at first that this would be a body butter sort of product, but it's much thicker and way too rich for application all over the body. It's a thick, waxy balm that can be used for any tough and dry spots and I used it on my hands over night to give a little bit of softness.
To be quite honest, I'm not overly impressed. I love the strong rose scent (though that might not be to everyone's taste), but the texture is really rather off-putting. The balm is quite hard in the tin, but rather than melting on the skin when you rub it in, it becomes kind of grainy and powdery. It also doesn't moisturise quite as much as I'd like, so it's one I'm going to give a miss I think.

15) Eve of St Agnes Refining Bamboo Exfoliating Polish
Full size: £18

Now this sample I like a lot more than the previous one. It's got a very soft and delicate scent which I can barely notice even when I'm rubbing it all over my nose. The grains are quite tough, but as they're suspended in a very light, soft cream, it makes for a very satisfying scrubbing experience. Strong enough to get all the rubbish off my face, but gentle enough to not cause any irritation.

16) Pukka Radiance Serum
Full size: £24

I'm really, really torn with this product. Upon application it's quite frankly disgusting. I dislike the herbal scent, the runny texture makes it difficult to apply without dripping and it leaves my skin extremely sticky. Eurgh! But, on the other hand, when I stuck with it, it really did improve my skin tone. Radiance is something that's a bit difficult to describe, but my skin tone seems more even and my skin looks a little more "healthy" than on days when I don't use it. Is it worth putting up with the disgusting feeling it leaves on my skin? I'm still not entirely sure.